"I thought our team played so hard," Babcock said. "I felt terrible, as bad as I've felt as a Red Wings coach, after the loss in Tampa and yesterday."
Babcock called veterans Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall "the best leadership group I've been around in pro sports. Those guys' window isn't as long as a lot of our kids'. At one point this year, we had 15 kids under the age of 28. We need the push from those kids. When I first got here, Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Kronwall were making older players that were here, they made them better. They were the kids that came and made them better and gave them another opportunity. We had a three-year run in '07, '08, '09.
"We need to have another run here. We're not a million miles away. The way we played against Tampa in games 3-7, you think you're a Cup contender, and you're out in the first round three out of four years. It's depressing.
"The great thing about being here is the expectations are high. I put expectations on our board all the time. Our owner expects you to be successful. I love that about this place. You're supposed to win. You're not supposed to be out, you're not supposed to have the team picture and the end of April or May."
That's some positive sounding dialogue.